My Second Thought Leader Interview with Kelly Griswold of Onna: eDiscovery Trends and Best Practices

Time for another thought leader interview on eDiscovery Today!  My latest interview is with the COO of a leading company in knowledge integration, my second thought leader interview with Kelly Griswold of Onna!

Kelly was appointed as Onna’s Chief Operating Officer in October 2020, having originally joined the company as Chief Strategy Officer. She oversees Sales, Customer Success, Partnerships, Finance, Marketing, and the People Team. Her focus is on the day-to-day operations of the company, working closely with founder and CEO, Salim Elkhou, on delivering Onna’s mission.

Kelly previously led the go-to-market function at Knowable (which was spun out of Axiom) and built the global partnerships and alliances team. Prior to Axiom, Kelly worked in finance and corporate development roles in renewable energy – she was the SVP of Business Development at Sungevity, co-founder of GSSG Solar, and part of the Global Special Situations Group at SunEdison. She started her career at UBS in a variety of roles including global corporate development.


Kelly lives in Alameda, California, with her husband, two young children, a dog, and a cat. She has a BA in English and Sociology with a Legal Studies focus from Bucknell University.

Doug Austin: It seems there are more eDiscovery challenges than ever these days that legal professionals are looking to address by leveraging technology. What are some of the challenges you’ve seen and what are some of the nuances that people don’t realize regarding those challenges? What are some of the biggest challenges that organizations face when it comes to legal hold management, especially for newer ESI unstructured data sources like Slack communications?

Kelly Griswold of Onna: One of the biggest eDiscovery challenges is capturing vast amounts of unstructured data from workplace collaboration tools whose adoption has sky-rocketed over the last 18 months. Specialist technology is needed as unstructured data is notoriously difficult to capture and manage, but too often businesses are lured by ‘end-to-end’ solutions that promise a comprehensive experience yet fail to deliver. eDiscovery is not a single problem to solve –– it is a series of smaller problems that require targeted technology –– and, when ‘end-to-end’ isn’t enough, business can struggle to find additional solutions, which add to the cost and complexity of any technology.

Combining best-in-class solutions that already integrate well can deliver cost savings and efficiencies as well as stronger capabilities across collections, processing, hold, and review. Plus, integrated technologies enable legal teams to be more self-sufficient and less reliant on IT teams to facilitate eDiscovery for the business.


Doug Austin: While we’re seeing more mergers and acquisitions in this space, we’re also seeing more partnerships and integrations recently as well. Why did Onna decide to pursue the route of an integration partnership with Zapproved instead of looking for an M&A opportunity or building it yourselves?  And how will the integration help organizations overcome those legal hold challenges?

Kelly Griswold of Onna: Legal technology is siloed and the painful concept of companies having to stitch technology solutions together is one that many legal departments will recognize. There is another way –– in enterprise technology, vendor-driven integrations and partnerships offer the full benefits of best-in-class ecosystems. Legal technology lags behind, which is a disservice to customers who should be demanding vendor-driven integrations much more.

Vendors assuming responsibility for technology integrations before selling solutions to their customers means that the burden is on the technology providers and not on the customer having to stitch solutions together themselves. Our partnership with Zapproved alleviates our joint customers of this additional responsibility while still giving them access to the deep expertise of best-in-class technology from both companies. By combining Onna’s expertise in collection and processing with Zapproved’s proficiency in legal hold management and review, joint customers achieve much more robust eDiscovery coverage through one integrated solution.

Doug Austin: What will the customer experience be like in working with Onna and Zapproved and how do you plan to make that experience seamless for them?

Kelly Griswold of Onna: Joint Onna and Zapproved customers will be able to automatically preserve Slack data at the point of hold issuance –– something that has not been possible until now. Slack legal holds initiated from Zapproved’s ZDiscovery Preserve are instantly applied to archived data in Onna, significantly reducing the time and costs associated with preserving Slack data. Traditionally, preserving Slack data required multiple steps, including notifying custodians from a legal hold platform, followed by a repeated process to identify, collect and hold Slack data on a separate platform.

Our customers have told us that they are excited about the fact that this integration will allow their teams to have “a single pane of glass across which to conduct operations” and that they will be able to retain more control over who can access data while giving more capabilities to those who create legal holds. We will continue to develop our integration with Zapproved by expanding the number of supported applications so more holds can be instantly placed on a variety of data sources with a single action.

As I mentioned, this is my second interview with Kelly Griswold of Onna.  To check out the first interview, click here.

So, what do you think?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Leave a Reply